Sample Project From Sewing Machine Basics

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A Line Skirt
Sew a simple A-Line Skirt

The universally flattering A-line skirt in a pretty print fabric is an essential item in any wardrobe.

■ 5/8-in. (1.5-cm) seam allowances are included unless otherwise stated.
■ Stitch seams with right sides together and notches matching, unless otherwise stated.

Sewing Machine Basics by Jane Bolsover, photography by Penny Wincer © CICO Books.

Extract from

Sewing Machine Basics by Jane Bolsover

Published by Ryland Peters & Small

This book takes the mystery out of the sewing machine, holding first-time stitchers by the hand and showing the easiest ways to get the most from their machine. In the climate of 'make do and mend', sales of sewing machines have soared, but many are only accompanied by a difficult-to-understand technical manual. Here, Jane Bolsover provides a comprehensive guide for beginners. Starting with an essential overview of the sewing machine, learn how to thread it and wind bobbins, why tension is important and which needles to choose. There's information on the basic sewing kit you will need, plus advice on which fabrics to choose and how to cut out. The chapters then build into a complete sewing course, and at the end of each chapter is a simple project to consolidate the skills you have just mastered. The projects include items for the home, including a cushion cover and a lampshade, stylish accessories, such as bags and scarves, plus great clothing basics, such as an A-line skirt and a simple shift dress. Also included at the back of the book is a full-size pull-out paper pattern section.

© 2016 Jane Bolsover / Ryland Peters & Small · Reproduced with permission.


  • How to make an a-line skirt. A Line Skirt - Step 1
    Step 1

    Cutting out your fabric

    Use pattern pieces 1, 2A and 2B, and 3.

    Fabric quantities and cutting layouts are given for one-way fabrics only. If you choose a fabric with a two-way design, you may be able to lay your pattern pieces into a smaller amount of fabric—but remember, grainlines must still run parallel to the selvage.

  • How to make an a-line skirt. A Line Skirt - Step 2
    Step 2

    Following the appropriate cutting layout, cut out all your fabric and interfacing pieces. Staystitch the waist and hem edges of all skirt pieces (see below). Stitch the darts on the front and back skirts and press toward the center front and center back.

  • How to make an a-line skirt. A Line Skirt - Step 3
    Step 3

    With right sides facing, pin and baste (tack) the back skirts together at the center back seam. Machine stitch the
    center back seam from hem edge to zipper notch, reverse stitching at each end to secure. Press the seams open and
    then neaten the seam allowances, including the zipper opening edges, separately. Insert a zipper.

  • Step 4

    With right sides facing, pin, baste (tack), and machine stitch the back skirt to the front skirt at the side seams, reverse stitching at each end to secure. Neaten the seam allowances separately and press the seams flat. Attach the waistband.

  • How to make an a-line skirt. A Line Skirt - Step 5
    Step 5

    With right sides facing, join the contrast hem strips together at the short ends to form a ring. Neaten the seam turnings together and press to one side. With right sides together, pin, baste (tack), and machine stitch the contrast strip to the skirt hem edge, matching the side seams and raw edges and taking a 3/8-in. (1-cm) seam allowance. Neaten the seam turnings together and press toward the skirt. Run your thumbnail over the lower raw edge of the strip to fray the edge slightly and make it go wavy.

  • How to make an a-line skirt. A Line Skirt - Step 6
    Step 6


    Staystitching is a row of machine stitching that is worked on the cut garment pieces before you start to sew them together. It is used on curved and bias seams such as necklines and waist edges, to stop them from stretching while you are making the garment up.

    Work a row of medium-length straight stitches just inside the seam allowance of your cut piece. Lay the cut piece back on your pattern to double-check it is still the same size and shape. Continue making up the garment as normal.

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